Lake-Lehman’s running attack too tough for Lackawanna Trail


By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com



Lackawanna Trail quarterback Tyler Baltrusaitis hands the ball off to James Gillespie during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4.


Alice Stuffle photos | For Abington Journal

Lackawanna Trail’s Anthony Berrios looks for running room during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4 in Factoryville.


Alice Stuffle photos | For Abington Journal

Lackawanna Trail quarterback Nathan Rolka attempts a pass during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4.


Alice Stuffle photos | For Abington Journal

FACTORYVILLE — Lackawanna Trail had a difficult time moving the ball on offense during the first football game of the season against Lake-Lehman, and each time the Lions put together a sustained drive either a penalty or turnover stopped their momentum.

Lackawanna Trail managed just 62 yards of offense in the first half and 186 in the game.

“Offensively, we just couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Steve Jervis said. “We’d have a penalty or a dropped pass. They’re things that are fixable. Our expectations are high and we want to do a little better next Friday.”

Lake-Lehman (1-0) struck first when Black Knights’ running back Joey Vigil burst through the left side of the defense for a 63-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game.

“It all starts with the line, and our line is huge,” Vigil said. “They are quick and physical.”

Trail linebacker Anthony Berrios intercepted a pass on Lehman’s next possession and the Lions advanced the ball to the Black Knights 19-yard line, but a penalty and sack ended their threat.

Vigil, who rushed for 282 of Lehman’s 377 yards on the ground, scored his second touchdown of the game on a 40-yard run. His touchdown capped an eight-play, 98-yard drive with 7:39 left in the second quarter after Trail punter Thomas Huffsmith pinned the Black Knights at their own 2-yard line.

“Joey had a phenomenal game, Nick (Eury) had a great game and I thought we did all right up front, but there is a lot of room for improvement,” Lake-Lehman head coach Jerry Gilsky said.

Eury carried the ball 11 times for 49 yards and also returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown.

Lackawanna Trail (0-1) advanced to the Lake-Lehman 34-yard line on the next drive but turned the ball over on a fumble by Huffsmith. Nine plays later, Lake-Lehman kicker Ian Dawsey converted a 22-yard field goal to give the Black Knights a 17-0 lead heading into halftime.

The Lions advanced the ball into Lake-Lehman territory on the first possession of the second half, but a chop block penalty, sack and incomplete pass stalled the drive forcing a punt.

Eury’s touchdown gave the Black Knights 24-0 advantage with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter.

On the next possession, Lackawanna Trail had another positive drive, reaching the Lake-Lehman 24-yard line. But a 14-yard loss on a third-down sack forced a punt.

“We have young kids and really just need them to get quality repetitions every practice,” Jervis said. “We have to get them up to game speed and they have to realize every play is critical.”

Huffsmith knocked his second punt of the game inside the 4-yard line, but Vigil raced up the sidelines for a 92-yard touchdown, seven plays later, to give the Black Knights a 31-0 lead with 10:23 left in the game.

“I thought our punter did a good job with field position,” Jervis said. “Our defense kept us in the game, (Lake-Lehman) just had a couple big plays and (Vigil) is a quick kid, I’ll give him credit.”

Rocco Pacini put the Lions on the scoreboard with a 10-yard touchdown run to end a three-play, 40-yard drive with 3:03 left in the game, after Lake-Lehman’s punter had trouble handling a snap.

Lackawanna Trail will travel to play Riverside at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11.

Lackawanna Trail quarterback Tyler Baltrusaitis hands the ball off to James Gillespie during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_ABJ-LT-Football-1.jpgLackawanna Trail quarterback Tyler Baltrusaitis hands the ball off to James Gillespie during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4. Alice Stuffle photos | For Abington Journal

Lackawanna Trail’s Anthony Berrios looks for running room during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4 in Factoryville.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_ABJ-LT-Football-2.jpgLackawanna Trail’s Anthony Berrios looks for running room during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4 in Factoryville. Alice Stuffle photos | For Abington Journal

Lackawanna Trail quarterback Nathan Rolka attempts a pass during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_ABJ-LT-Football-3.jpgLackawanna Trail quarterback Nathan Rolka attempts a pass during the Lions 31-7 loss to Lake-Lehman on Friday, Sept. 4. Alice Stuffle photos | For Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

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